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An unbalanced relationship

Posted: Tuesday, January 07, 2003

For years I have been watching Canada's national gun legislation develop into what will ultimately lead to the end of private ownership of firearms. In the good old days we could drive from Juneau to the interior of Alaska through Canada with our firearms without hassle from Canada authorities. Today this has changed and we are now required to pay a fee and to register our guns to travel through Canada to interior Alaska. Two years ago our state Legislature played into the Canadians' hands by amending Alaska law which requires bush pilots to carry a survival firearm to exempt planes traveling to and from Canada. In turn, the Canadians promised to relax their law for Alaskans traveling the ALCAN to and from the interior. Our Legislature and state administration blew the only leverage we had by changing our laws to accommodate them. Canada, as a result of its tax customs service, serves as a conduit to the United States for illegal aliens, drugs and terrorists. Because of NAFTA, heavily subsidized Canadian farmers are able to sell cheap grain to Midwest elevators at the expense of U.S. farmers. Poor logging practices leave decimated Canada's salmon stocks and their fish farming threatens the remaining wild stocks of salmon in the North Pacific. They have blockaded the Alaska state ferry and held U.S. citizens captive without consequences. Why is it that we always seem to take it on the chin?

In the 1940s the U.S. government built the ALCAN Highway for the material benefit of the free world. The Carter administration signed legislation to reconstruct and pave the ALCAN for 200 million U.S. tax dollars. The Canadians demanded and got 85 percent Canadian hire on that project. From where I sit, I say we have a vested interest in this road. Yet our politicians sit back and allow the Canadian government to impose ever more restrictive access to the highway and our travel to the rest of Alaska.

What can we as individuals do? I have canceled two hunting trips to Canada. When I go to the interior of Alaska I will fly, so don't build the road up Lynn Canal for me. I will not do business with any Canadian company and I tell them why. Lastly, I have imposed a fee schedule for Canadian citizens who inquire about chartering my boat to catch Alaska fish. If the Canadians are content to sit back and allow their way of life to erode, that's their business, but I don't have to contribute to it.

A famous man once said, "A people who are willing to give up their freedom in favor of security don't deserve either." Never has this been more true than today, on both sides of the border.

Michael Millar

Juneau



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